- 12 million French people are treated for hypertension
- Stopping treatment can cause a sudden rise in blood pressure.
- In this case, organ degradation can be very rapid and leads to a risk of death.
A devastating tsunami: untreated hypertension or an unjustified discontinuation of treatment for hypertension can lead the patient to a very serious situation, that of malignant hypertension. In this case, everything panics. Cystolic blood pressure can exceed 180mmHg, which can lead to severe organ damage in just a few weeks and, if left unchecked, lead to death of the patient. This is one of the only cases where the hypertensive patient requires emergency hospitalization for examinations to measure the degradation of organs that can cause a stroke, a myocardial infarction or kidney damage and to gradually restore – to avoid a bad perfusion organs due to too rapid a drop – normal blood pressure not to exceed 140mmHg / 90mmHg.
If these cases of malignant hypertension are rather rare, the profile of the patients who are threatened by it is on the other hand well known: an elevated hypertension and not diagnosed but, above all, treated patients … who suddenly stop their treatment without collecting the blood pressure. opinion of their doctor! Other causes may exist, in particular certain specific forms of hypertension with renal damage or even genetic profiles indicating a predisposition. “But malignant hypertension mainly affects patients who regularly stop their treatment, which can cause big rebounds in their level of arterial hypertension”, specifies Dr Romain Boulestreau.
A disease without easily recognizable symptoms
The danger is all the greater since high blood pressure, even when it reaches high levels, does not necessarily produce easily identifiable symptoms. Nearly 12 million French people are treated for arterial hypertension, that is to say for a systolic pressure greater than 140mmHg and diastolic pressure greater than 90mmHg. But this figure is far from reflecting the reality: hypertension is a disease called “asymptomatic” and for this reason it is considered that about 20% of people who suffer from it do not take treatment! As for those who are treated, half fail to balance their blood pressure and stay with too high measurements.
“Most often, there is no sign at all for a person who suffers from hypertension,” confirms Dr. Thierry Denolle, cardiologist and former president of the French society of hypertension. “But there are symptoms that must make you think of hypertension, he adds, such as headaches, especially posterior headaches, ringing in the ears, but these are signs that are absolutely not not specific and often the diagnosis is made, a bit by chance, by taking the blood pressure “. However the possible complications in the event of hypertension, heart failure, stroke, neurodegenerative diseases, invite to take the problem very seriously.
The importance of treatment adherence
The difficulty, once the diagnosis of hypertension is made, is to find the right treatment … and to observe it! “We often see patients, sometimes young, who have never taken treatment for a chronic disease and who say to themselves’ starting treatment at my age, it may cause side effects and in fact I do not have too much. want to follow him ‘”, says the cardiologist. % But he also mentions the case of older patients, diagnosed and treated, but who, because they leave on the move, can forget their medicines and go several days without taking them. “There are also patients treated but who say to themselves that this treatment does them more harm than good, that before they felt nothing while afterwards they feel tired, have swollen legs, experience sexual problems. and who, without talking to their doctor, stop the treatment … There are plenty of reasons not to take his treatment but it is very dangerous! “, continues and warns Dr Denolle.
A danger which remains permanent for the patients who have already found themselves in a situation of malignant hypertension: “In this case, we are faced with people who have a favorable ground, a profile which indicates a significant risk of remaking a malignant hypertension in cases of poor adherence to treatment, “insists Dr Romain Boulestreau.
Below, the interview with Dr Romain Boulestreau on malignant hypertension: